Bill Cosby, his status as an American icon shattered and his five-decade show business career crumbling from a tsunami of rape accusations, is charging head-first into the storm, vowing to go on with a stand-up appearance tonight in Florida.
“The performance is scheduled to take place as planned Friday night,” said John Glisch, associate vice president for communications at Melbourne’s Eastern Florida State College, whose 2,016-seat King Center for the Performing Arts is hosting the show.
The Melbourne performance, if it indeed takes place, will stand nearly alone amidst a cascade of cancellations of other Cosby projects in the past few days. NBC has abandoned plans for a new TV show, Netflix has dropped a Thanksgiving special and the cable channel TV Land has even booted its reruns of the comedian’s monstrously popular 1980s hit sitcom, “The Cosby Show.” Two Cosby appearances on TV talk shows have been canceled. But his management company said Thursday Cosby has no plans to cancel his Melbourne appearance.
The 77-year-old Cosby, once among the most beloved cultural figures in America, has been under siege for the past month after the revival of decade-old charges that he drugged and raped young women. A lawsuit by one of the women – who said in court documents she had 13 other unnamed victims willing to testify – was settled out of court in 2006.
But in the past few weeks, at least five women, some of them from the ranks of the lawsuit witnesses, some not, have come forward to publicly say they were sexually assaulted by Cosby.
Leno cancels appearance at gun show
Comedian Jay Leno canceled a planned appearance at a firearms trade show on the Las Vegas Strip after learning that a group representing victims of gun violence was gathering signatures urging him not to attend, his publicist said Thursday.
Leno made the decision when he was told the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show is hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a group that lobbies for gun owners and manufacturers, said Dick Guttman, spokesman for the former NBC “Tonight Show” host.
“He thought it was a sporting group,” Guttman said. “He understands that it caused concern. He fully understands the sensitivities.”
A statement by the foundation expressed disappointment that Leno won’t perform at the 2015 SHOT Show industry dinner in January.
The statement blamed the decision on pressure from an anti-gun lobby and “false statements about our industry and its commitment to genuine firearms safety.”
The birthday bunch
Actress Marlo Thomas is 77. Singer Dr. John is 74. Actress Juliet Mills is 73. Actress Goldie Hawn is 69. Actress-singer Lorna Luft is 62. Gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman is 52. Actress Nicollette Sheridan is 51. Singer-actress Bjork is 49. MLB All-Star player Ken Griffey Jr. is 45. Football player-turned-talk show host Michael Strahan is 43. Pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen is 29.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.